Think about the social media platforms that you use on a regular basis. What kind of image, if any, do you try to portray online? Do you create separate personas for different platforms? How representative would you say your online profiles are of you as a whole?
As I’ve become somewhat of an adult (I’ve decided I never plan on fully growing up), I’ve become comfortable in my own skin (I swear this isn’t a native advertisement for Dove for Men). I actually don’t focus very much on my image most of the time, because I’m surrounded by people I know. Of course when I’m talking to new people whom I respect, I’m careful to sound professional, organized and thoughtful, but the rest of the time, I trust my values and their social manifestations portray my image well. I simply try to never stray too far from my basic principles of kindness, humor/self-depreciation, a little bit of internal rebellion against the status quo (formerly angst), and I balance that out by thinking pretty carefully about risk management.
In person, I am much more complicated than my social media would indicate. Of course I’m sure that this is true for everyone but my interests are broader, my emotions vary more widely, my speech is more frequently off-color and sarcastic, and my personality shifts from more extroverted online, to more introverted in person.
My social media outlets display a version of me whose interests align with Facebook Pages, hashtags and other neat little boxes that corporations have constructed in which we can express ourselves. The things that I post tend to be accurate reflections of me, but only in a select few moments when I’m especially excited about something. This edited way of life allows me to cut out the vast majority of my activities to make me seem like a constantly happy, ever-exciting person, which of course no one is.
All this said, I do work hard to curate an image of myself that is representative of my passions, most specifically music, but it never accounts for the long hours of work I put into the things that I do, I just share the result. I think that’s kind of a metaphor for social media in general. It’s all the results, none of the work, which reflects people’s happy extroverted, sides and interests but does not necessarily demonstrate how they are the vast majority of the time.